The Ways of Keeping Gender Ambiguity of Characters in Translation from English into Russian

2023. № 5, 7-18

Tatyana V. Kovalevskaya1, Anna A. Sadchikova2, Russian State University for the Humanities (Russia, Moscow),,


The article studies the problems of keeping gender ambiguity of characters while translating from English into Russian. Gender ambiguity in a fictional text is literary device which lets the author conceal/veil the gender of a character so that their readers cannot be sure about it (the article distinguishes between gender neutrality and gender ambiguity). The work focuses on the methods of translating texts narrated in past tenses while keeping gender ambiguity of characters as it is the past tenses of verbs that are diffi cult to translate by virtue of differences in the grammar systems of the English and Russian languages. The article considers the translation of adjectives, participles, and declinable male and female names in Russian translations and proposes solutions for translation problems connected to these items. In addition, the paper gives a classification of translation methods used in handling this task and statistics of the most frequently used solutions. This is particularly relevant today as fictional texts with characters of undetermined gender are quite a novelty especially in Russian literature, and this topic has not been studied before from the perspective of translation problems it poses, while this is a highly relevant issue at the current stage of the development of English and Russian languages.

For citation:

Kovalevskaya T. V., Sadchikova A. A. The Ways of Keeping Gender Ambiguity of Characters in Translation from English into Russian. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 5. Pp. 7–18. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170028363-8.